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Natural products from resurrection plants: potential for medical applications.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Review article (peer-reviewed)
Author Gechev Tsanko S, Hille Jacques, Woerdenbag Herman J, Benina Maria, Mehterov Nikolay, Toneva Valentina, Fernie Alisdair R, Mueller-Roeber Bernd,
Project Identification of genes that regulate plant tolerance to adverse abiotic stress factors and determine plant ageing
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Review article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Biotechnology advances
Volume (Issue) 32(6)
Page(s) 1091 - 101
Title of proceedings Biotechnology advances
DOI 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2014.03.005


Resurrection species are a group of land plants that can tolerate extreme desiccation of their vegetative tissues during harsh drought stress, and still quickly - often within hours - regain normal physiological and metabolic functions following rehydration. At the molecular level, this desiccation tolerance is attributed to basal cellular mechanisms including the constitutive expression of stress-associated genes and high levels of protective metabolites present already in the absence of stress, as well as to transcriptome and metabolome reconfigurations rapidly occurring during the initial phases of drought stress. Parts of this response are conferred by unique metabolites, including a diverse array of sugars, phenolic compounds, and polyols, some of which accumulate to high concentrations within the plant cell. In addition to drought stress, these metabolites are proposed to contribute to the protection against other abiotic stresses and to an increased oxidative stress tolerance. Recently, extracts of resurrection species and particular secondary metabolites therein were reported to display biological activities of importance to medicine, with e.g. antibacterial, anticancer, antifungal, and antiviral activities, rendering them possible candidates for the development of novel drug substances as well as for cosmetics. Herein, we provide an overview of the metabolite composition of resurrection species, summarize the latest reports related to the use of natural products from resurrection plants, and outline their potential for medical applications.